What will set this mind at ease?
We often think of taking rest as a physical act. To stop moving and to be still. It could look like taking a day off from work, an afternoon nap or just sitting at the table, relaxing with your morning coffee.
But what about the mind?
As a conscious health practitioner, I view health and well-being from a multi-dimensional point of view, which means that well-being is not only about caring for the physical body but requires us to care for ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, environmentally and collectively as well. When you know what you need to find yourself fulfilled in all of these areas, that is when your spark really starts to light up!
So let’s talk about the mind today. When we get that inner knowing that rest is needed, it’s not necessarily a problem of the physical body being overworked (although this can be the case). An overworked mind will also lead to a felt sense of exhaustion in the body. Making it easy to be confused about what remedy is actually needed - physical rest or mental rest. We take physical rest thinking it will make us feel better, but end up feeling just as exhausted as we were before, even after we’ve “rested”.
And the thing about the mind is, it never actually gets tired, does it? I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this, but the mind has a relentless ability to keep going and pushing, even when all other signs are pointing to the fact it needs to just stop and take a break already!
The mind itself never actually gets tired.
How often do you set aside time to get curious about what the mind is really up to?
If we don’t take the time, in an intentional way, to tend to the health of our mind and plan for it to rest, it can easily start to over run our lives, inevitably leading to exhaustion and burnout.
The mind can cause exhaustion for many reasons. It is a bit of a trickster after all. It can tell you all sorts of things, not all of which will be helpful and uplifting for you.
Furthermore, many of our thoughts are just things we’ve been conditioned to think about and aren’t really our own thoughts to begin with! They are a record stuck on repeat of something we learned a long time ago that isn’t even relevant to our lives anymore.
Which is why it is so important to be intentional about tending to our mental health. A mind left unattended to can make it really hard for you to find your spark again! In fact, it is one of the most stubborn blocks to work through.
But with awareness comes choice, and so your invitation this week is to start to pay more attention, on purpose, to what the mind is up to.
Here are some things you can start to get curious about:
These are only a few things you may start to notice as you pay attention to what your mind is up to. As you become more mindful of your thought patterns, you will be better able to discern what is helpful and empowering for you and what isn’t.
An overactive mind can be quite persistent, so have patience! This is a practice, not another goal to be achieved. Honestly, it is something to spend a lifetime tending to, so keep this in mind . . .
The mind isn’t going anywhere, so it’s best to find a way to work with it rather than have it working against you!
The irony of all of this is - these stuck patterns are actually pointing you in the direction of your spark. When identified, your greatest gifts will emerge from the steps you take to break free from them.
Once you start to notice what patterns your mind is playing on repeat, it is helpful to write them down on paper and read them back to yourself.
Then, tune into your heart and ask . . .
What will set this mind at ease?
What is your heart's vision?
Your unique spark is needed in this world.
The world needs you, to be YOU!
Deep down, beneath all of the self doubt, confusion, expectations, to do lists and “shoulds”, exists the truth of your own heart.
However, it can be difficult at times to feel deeply connected to this truth. In fact, as you navigate your path through midlife, you may reflect back and question if you ever really, truly knew who you were.
If this is the case, do not fret! You haven’t done anything wrong. You haven’t missed the boat so to speak. You are not carrying the weight of this burden alone, I promise.
We have been playing this game, the billions of us that are here living this out together, for thousands of years!
Your life is this way by design, so take a big breath with me, and let’s get curious . . .
It seems to be an inevitability as we jump through the hoops life places on our path, that we suffer the forgetfulness of our own spark.
By virtue of being human, we seem to have agreed to step onto a path that would make us forget, simply to find ourselves in midlife awakening to a deep desire to find our way back to our spark again.
This is one of the great mysteries of life. The mystery many have contemplated for thousands of years. It is what I love to talk about, contemplate and philosophize over the most!
More importantly, it is my deepest desire that every one of us finds our way back to this spark so we can shine our uniqueness for one another brightly at this time.
What I would like to share with you today is this. On a less mystical and more practical note, we were born into this world. Then, as we grew up, we conditioned ourselves to “fit in” to the world around us. Little by little, we learned how to play the role of the “good child” as we became who we needed to be in order to see love reflected back to us.
Little by little, we started to forget the truth of our own unique spark in favour of fitting in with the crowd. We created patterns of behaviour to keep us in one another’s good graces.
The upside to this - we did what we did in order to avoid the deep pain of rejection. In a way, it was an act of self love and self preservation at a time we knew of no other way. We continue to do this for the same reason.
The downside - all of these well meaning patterns continue to lead us further away from the uniqueness of who we truly are. The uniqueness that, more than ever, is truly needed to light up our world with love.
This week I’d like to offer you this. Your mind may keep you in a state of confusion, talking you out of what your heart knows to be true. Your mind may be soooo good at doing this, that you have no idea what your heart actually wants anymore.
The remedy to this - imagination. Imagination is the medicine that helps you redirect your attention away from the tricks of the mind, away from all the patterns you’ve been repeating up until now, and allows you to see, once again, if even for a brief moment, the true essence of your Soul.
It’s common these days to create vision boards from the level of the rational mind. Often these vision boards fill up with everything we think we “should” want - the car, the house, the perfect partner, the perfect job, the dream vacation, etc.
There really is nothing wrong in desiring these things! We did come here to have some fun in this world after all.
But this week, let’s try something a little different. What would happen if you used your imagination to create a vision for your spark? If you imagined the brightest, happiest, most beautiful vision of your inner self?
What would that look like?
What is your heart’s vision?
What do you need to say yes to?
When you find yourself in a cycle of life where you don’t know what happened to your spark, trying to cultivate the quality of zest can feel almost impossible!
You barely have the energy to roll out of bed and start your day, never mind mustering up any sense of enthusiasm for the life you feel like you don’t fit into anymore.
You may have been told to start doing things that bring you joy. But when you go to do those things, the truth is, you just feel like you’re going through the motions. In your head you are thinking, “this should bring me joy”, and then a wave of guilt, shame or indifference sets in followed by an impulse to crawl back under the covers.
So I’m going to let you off the hook today. I’m not going to tell you to start doing things that bring you joy. Most likely, the things that used to bring you joy just aren’t cutting it for you anymore anyways. And that’s ok! There is another way . . .
Let’s shift the focus a bit.
Instead of doing a bunch of things that “should” bring you joy, but just aren’t, start to think about this - what is draining your energy?
One of the reasons we lose touch with our spark is that we spend so much of our energy doing things that drain us of our precious life force and not enough things that fuel our fire. When we live day to day, week to week and year to year in this pattern, it eventually leads to burn out.
And if you are noticing yourself in this place of burn out, I’d like to offer you the perspective that this is actually a good thing! I know it doesn’t feel like it. It feels awful. However, if you are reading this article and resonating with what I’ve said so far, it means you are aware something is amiss, and awareness is the first step towards finding your spark again!
A loss of zest for life is your Soul communicating with you to connect with her. She is asking you to re-evaluate how you are spending your energy and to consider what needs to change.
And change is hard when you don’t feel like you have the energy to do it, so be easy on yourself. The small steps you take now will pay off. Down the road, when you look back on where this journey back to your spark began, you will thank yourself for deciding to take those first few steps.
Many times, the hardest thing to do when you are starting to move away from the things that drain you is to learn the lesson of saying “no”.
When you say “no” to the things that are draining you, what you are really saying is “yes” to creating space to connect with your spark.
Remember, the practice of saying yes to tending to your own spark is worth pursuing, because those tiny shifts, day after day after day, are what will start to fan the flames of your spark, until one day you find yourself waking up with a renewed zest for life once again!
Right now, start with finding a bit more balance. Can you love yourself enough to do less things that are draining your energy and save some of that precious life force for yourself?
This week consider . . .
What do you need to say yes to?